Saudi Arabia has announced that it will allow LGBTQ+ tourists to visit the country as part of a new push to increase tourism. This is a major shift for a country where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment or even death.
The move comes as part of a broader plan to increase tourism in Saudi Arabia. The country has been working to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on oil, and tourism is seen as a key area of growth.
What the New Rules Mean
Under the new rules, LGBTQ+ tourists will be allowed to visit Saudi Arabia as long as they do not engage in any same-sex sexual activity while in the country. This means that LGBTQ+ tourists will need to be discreet about their sexuality while in Saudi Arabia.
While homosexuality is still illegal in Saudi Arabia, the country has taken steps in recent years to relax some of its strict social norms. For example, in 2019, the country eased its restrictions on women’s dress and allowed women to travel without the permission of a male guardian.
Reaction to the News
The announcement has been met with mixed reactions. LGBTQ+ rights activists have criticized the new rules, saying that they are not enough to protect LGBTQ+ tourists in Saudi Arabia. They argue that the country’s laws still make it a dangerous place for LGBTQ+ people.
Others have praised the move as a step in the right direction. They argue that the new rules will help to promote tolerance and diversity in Saudi Arabia and could lead to further changes in the future.
Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow LGBTQ+ tourists to visit the country is a significant step forward, but there is still a long way to go in terms of LGBTQ+ rights in the country. While the new rules are a positive development, LGBTQ+ tourists will still need to be cautious about their behavior while in Saudi Arabia.
Ultimately, it will be up to the individual traveler to decide whether they feel comfortable visiting Saudi Arabia as an LGBTQ+ person. But for those who do choose to visit, the country offers a rich cultural heritage and many stunning natural attractions, from the Red Sea coast to the ancient city of Petra.